Press Release: High-profile panel shortlists museums and artists in running for £60,000 Contemporary Art Society Annual Award

17 July 2013 By
Image (L-R): 2013 judges Elizabeth Neilson (Director, Zabludowicz Collection), Kirsty Ogg (Curator, Whitechapel Gallery) and Charlotte Higgins (Chief Arts Writer,The Guardian) discuss applications at the Contemporary Art Society, July 2013. Photo: Joe Plommer, 2013.

17 July 2013

The Contemporary Art Society is delighted to announce the shortlisted museums and their nominated artists in line to receive this year’s Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums. These are:

* Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art with artist Elizabeth Price

* Birmingham Museums with artist Jess Flood-Paddock

* The Hepworth Wakefield with artist Des Hughes

* Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with artist Lucy McKenzie

Now in its fifth year, the prestigious £60,000 prize is one of the highest value contemporary art awards in the country, and is awarded to a UK museum to commission an artist of their choice to create a new work that will enrich their permanent collection. The award also provides support and exposure for the winning artist at a critical point in their career.

The shortlisted museums with their nominated artists will now create a full proposal for their  new commissions, to be considered by the 2013 judging panel. The judging panel for the 2013 award includes a mix of leading names in the field of contemporary art and comprises: Brian Griffiths (artist), Charlotte Higgins (Chief Arts Writer, The Guardian), Elizabeth Neilson (Director, Zabludowicz Collection), and Kirsty Ogg (Curator, Whitechapel Gallery).

The winners of the £60,000 prize will be announced in an award ceremony in London on 18 November 2013, in the presence of artists, curators, collectors and art world VIPs. The presenter of the award will be announced shortly; previous presenters have included Grayson PerryCornelia Parker and Jeremy Deller.

Sophia Bardsley, Deputy Director, Contemporary Art Society, said:
“We are delighted to have received such a large volume of applications this year, and the quality of proposals has been exceptionally high. After some debate, the 2013 panel was eventually unanimous in their selection of this year’s stand-out shortlist. The museums will now begin to work with their nominated artists to better visualise their proposed commissions and the ways in which these commissions will enrich and enliven their collections, for the benefit of public audiences now and in the future. The Contemporary Art Society Annual Award is a lifeline to the winning museum to acquire an important new work that will put their contemporary collection more firmly on the contemporary art map – both regionally and across the UK – whilst the winning artist gains the opportunity to develop their work and ideas alongside a team of curators and museum professionals, which is often a new experience for them. The award offers the artist the chance to expand their practice to potentially take their work in a new direction.”

Elizabeth Neilson, Director, Zabludowicz Collection, said:
“It was a challenge to select four proposals when every one of the applications should be seen through to completion. This cannot be understood in terms of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ but rather a process to select the right proposal for this award. I expect the next stage of selection to be even harder.”  

For all press enquiries, including press tickets to the 18 November award ceremony, contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager
+44 (0)20 7017 8412

Notes to Editors:


The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the

Current and forthcoming displays at Contemporary Art Society, 59 Central Street:
David Hockney 5 JUNE – 16 AUGUST
John Stezaker 4 SEPTEMBER – 4 OCTOBER
Pop Flavours: The Eric & Jean Cass Gift 16 OCTOBER – 22 NOVEMBER
Laure Prouvost 4 DECEMBER – 17 JANUARY


One of the highest value contemporary art prizes in the country, the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums supports a UK-based museum or public gallery to work with an artist of their choice to commission a new work that, once completed, will remain within the museum’s permanent collection.

The £60,000 prize has a major impact on both the winning museum and their chosen artist: for the winning museum, the award allows the acquisition of an ambitious work of contemporary art of national importance, and for the winning artist (who may be showing widely nationally and internationally but whose work is not represented in collections in this country), the award is a stepping stone to greater visibility and provides access to national and international audiences.

Applications are welcomed from museums that have not yet commissioned new work as well as from those with more experience. The award is open to all museums in the Contemporary Art Society’s Museums Membership network and artists anywhere in the world. Museums must be able to commit at least £5,000 towards the development of a publication or catalogue, and £1000 is made available to all short-listed museums to work up the detailed proposal including the artist’s time and contribution.

Previous recipients of the award include: The Graves Art Gallery, Museums Sheffield (with artist Kateřina Šedá) in 2009; the Hepworth Wakefield and Wolverhampton Art Gallery (with Turner Prize nominated artist Luke Fowler) in 2010; Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery (with artist Christina Mackie) in 2011; and last year’s winners, The Collection & Usher Gallery, Lincoln (with artist Oliver Laric).


Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art with artist Elizabeth Price
Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price is an artist who uses images, text and music to explore archives and collections. While her work is informed by mainstream cinema and experimental film, it is mostly concerned with the medium of digital video and its comparative ubiquity in today’s culture. Exploring the archives and collections of the university’s museums, focusing especially on the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museums (The Pitt Rivers cares for Oxford’s holdings of anthropology and world archaeology), the commission would enable the artist to make a new film that discloses the different taxonomic systems that have been employed by and shaped the two institutions.

Birmingham Museums with artist Jess Flood-Paddock
Rooted in sculpture, Jess Flood-Paddock’s work focuses on the emotional dimension of objects and what that can tell us about human interaction. Also employing photography, video and scenic painting, her work is often realised on a large-scale in ‘un-monumental’ materials (e.g. plywood, paper and fabric). Drawing on Birmingham Museum’s Collection Centre, which consists of over 500,000 objects dating from the Palaeolithic era 200,000 years ago to the present, the commission offers the artist a unique starting point for her research and encourages a new direction for the artist whose practice until now has been entirely studio-based. The Museum’s Collections Centre in Birmingham will act as her expanded studio and enable a new and wider repertoire of information and engagement.

The Hepworth Wakefield with artist Des Hughes
Using contradictory or unconventional materials, Des Hughes’ sculptures often go through a series of processes that subvert the objects’ statuses to offer a richer understanding of their purpose and materiality. Exploring the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection and archival material relating to Henry Moore as part of his initial archive research, Des Hughes will focus on the recent removal of Henry Moor’s bronze sculpture, Draped Reclining Figure (1979) from public display in Castleford as an unlikely alternative route into exploring the work of Henry Moore and British Modernism.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with artist Lucy McKenzie
Lucy McKenzie is a Glasgow-born artist whose singular approach to painting draws on hugely varied sources and art histories. The artists’ on-going interest in and use of traditional techniques would allow for meaningful connections to be made with the historical holdings and extensive archive of the Scottish National Gallery. The commission would become the first of the artist’s works to enter a public collection within Scotland.


Since graduating from Goldsmiths College in the late 1990s, Brian Griffiths has been making sculpture and installations of overblown theatricality and pathos. His work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. He has had solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, Arnolfini, A Foundation, Vilma Gold, Galeria Luisa Strina and internationally has shown work at numerous museums including Tate Britain, The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, The Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, CAPC museum in Bordeaux, Mostra D’Arte Contemporanea in Milan and Belém Museum of Modern Art, Brazil. He was recently shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth commission and was included in British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet. A monograph on the artist, Brian Griffiths: Crummy Love, was published by Koenig In 2011. He is presently Senior Tutor at the Royal Academy Schools, London.

Charlotte Higgins is the chief arts writer at The Guardian. She contributes to The Guardian‘s news, features, op-ed, literary and arts sections, and writes the Charlotte Higgins on Cultureblog. Charlotte began her career in journalism on Voguemagazine in 1995 and moved to The Guardian in 1997. She joined the arts desk in 1999, and the following year became classical music editor. In 2004 Charlotte moved to The Guardian‘s newsroom to become arts correspondent, reporting from the UK as well as overseas, including Venezuela, China and the Palestinian Territories. Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Charlotte has a degree in classics from Oxford. She is the author of Latin Love Lessons, and It’s All Greek to Me (both published by Short Books) and her third, Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, was published in 2013 by Jonathan Cape. She won the 2010 Classical Association prize. Charlotte is a keen amateur violinist and chamber musician.

Since joining the Zabludowicz Collection in January 2006, Elizabeth has overseen the strategy, acquisitions and the direction of the Collection. She is also responsible for the exhibition programme and residencies in all locations. She completed an MA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2005 and a BA in Art History and Women’s Studies from The University of East London in 2003. Founded in 1994 by Poju and Anita Zabludowicz, the Zabludowicz Collection is a dynamic and growing collection spanning four decades of art, from the 1970s to today, and exhibits in venues in the UK, USA and Finland. The Collection actively creates new opportunities for audiences to engage with emerging art, and supports arts organisations and artists around the world. Its activities are shaped by an ethos of philanthropy and a commitment to engaging with local contexts and communities.

Since May 2009, Kirsty Ogg has been Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London, where her projects have included Claire Barclay’s Bloomberg Commission, a survey of Gerard Byrne’s work, Karl Blossfeldt’s photography and The London Open. Between 1998 – 2008 she was the Director of The Showroom, London. During her time at The Showroom, Kirsty worked with artists including Jim Lambie, Claire Barclay, Eva Rothschild, Subodh Gupta, Richard Hughes and Daria Martin on the development and presentation of their first solo shows in London. After graduating from the Sculpture Department at Edinburgh College of Art in 1990, Kirsty was a member of the organizing committee at Transmission,  1993 – 1996. She then went on to work at Norwich Gallery at Norwich School of Art & Design. Kirsty is currently a lecturer on the MA Curating Course at Goldsmiths.